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More than 100 nail salons fail health, safety inspections in Washington

SEATTLE -- Over 100 nail salons have been flagged for unsanitary practices in Washington state in 2017. Most of those salons are in Western Washington.

Q13 News dug into how these salons are inspected and what you need to do to make sure your next mani-pedi.

We found there are thousands of infractions for local nail salons over the past three years, so we took a closer look at 2017.

In King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, 74 shops were placed on probation and 12 of those shops are placed on probation twice.

So what type of infractions are we talking about here? We learned nail salons are graded on dozens of different safety measures. Inspections are graded on a scale of 0 to 100. You must get an 86 to pass. Anything less and you're slapped with a fine.

Some common violations include:

  • New tools like buffers and files mixed with used ones
  • Dirty foot spas
  • Used spoons and sticks found in the wax and/or scrubs
  • Gloves and/or towels used on one client and then re-used on another
  • Unsanitary waxing beds

Salons put on probation must have safety training, pay up with increased fines and be subject to more frequent inspections. They have to pass two in a row to be taken off of probation.

Dermatologist Steve Greene of Advanced Dermatology and Laser Institute of Seattle is on the National Council for Nail Disorders. He says nail infections are underemphasized and under-reported and he doesn't think these inspections go far enough.

"Greater scrutiny and oversight by or Washington State Health Department is in order to standardize the care for the public," Dr. Greene explained.

Right now inspections are done by the Department of Licensing, not the Health Department. So unlike at restaurants, there's no visible reading posted on the door, so you have to do your own research to protect yourself.

Click here for the state-run website where you can search for your favorite salon's inspection record.

Dr. Green says on every visit, make sure every technician is wearing gloves for each procedure. He also says its integral to select a clean and uncrowned salon.

"Look around, see how neat and tidy each workstation is. You want to make sure people are not rushing around, but people are working slowly," Dr. Greene added.

An unexpected prick with cuticle clippers can go from a beauty nightmare to a real health hazard.